Bladesmith, Jyunichi Takagi, was born in 1937. He is well known as one of the last traditional adze makers and a skilled knifemaker. He began his apprenticeship in 1952, when he was 15 years old. Until recently, Jyunichi worked at the side of his brother. At 71 years old (in 2008), this skilled craftsman sadly does not have any apprentices; as he explains, though he would like to teach his skills, knifemaking is a very difficult process and takes many years to learn.
Takagi's traditional knives are highly sought after by professional chefs and show tremendous skill. Most of his knives are made in the honyaki style. His honyaki (or "true-forged") knives are forged from one piece of carbon steel. They take more skill to forge and shape than Honkasumi knives and are also more difficult to sharpen. Of all the Japanese knives, honyaki knives have the greatest kirenaga, staying sharp the longest, but they are also more fragile than other knives and can chip, crack, or break if used improperly.
Deba, Mioroshi, and other "hard-use" knives are forged by Takagi in honkasumi style. Craftsmen forge honkasumi knives by forge-welding a layer of soft iron (jigane) to a layer of carbon steel (hagane). After forging, hammering, and shaping, the carbon steel becomes the blade’s edge. The soft, supportive iron layer becomes the body and spine of the blade. This reduces brittleness and makes sharpening easier. Kasumi knives are easier to use and quicker to sharpen than honyaki knives; but their kirenaga (edge retention) is shorter. Kasumi means "mist," which refers to the hazy appearance of the soft iron part of the blade in contrast to the glossy appearance of the carbon steel cutting edge.